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tv   Talk to Al Jazeera  Al Jazeera  March 15, 2014 7:30pm-8:01pm EDT

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>> you could do it better. there was a day when i was sitting in a side walk cafe and i saw a busload of tourists passing in front of me with their noses pressed against the glass. there were 45 people crammed into a motor coach, and i thought to myself, if i had any money, i would have been in that motor coach having this totally artificial view of european life. instead, i had no money. therefore, i was nursing a glass of wine for the entire afternoon, drinking in the life and the people, scenes of europe. and i knew that this was the way to travel. >> in this time, arthur, americans went from not being tourists to being that brash american tourist who seemed removed from the cultural experience. now, we seem to have moved in to a place where we want to be more
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familiar with the environment to help preserve and continue the environment. so we have changed the tourists. >> we have made a point in our travel guides from the beginning that it is part of the adventure of life to put yourself inp into a situation where everything is new and novel, where the lifestyles, the theology, the bridge view points are totally opposite to what you believe or what you confront other ways of thinkingpoints are totally opposite to what you believe or what you confront other ways of thinki thinking. >> we have tried to move away from the ugly american? >> sure. >> that you were talking about in terms of how mass tourism has taken over the world? >> it has. >> have we? >> moved away from it? are americans better appreciated as travelers and tourists now? >> well, you have to remember that only 35% or so of americans even have passports, so we are not traveling as much as other countries. are we better tourists? i don't know. >> i think we are.
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i think the more egregious examples of poor tourism are being provided by other cultures. >> there is a movement of chinese tourists into venice and they go on a conveyor belt of travel. >> the chinese are on their way to becoming the biggest groups of the tourists in the world bar none. >> that's true. >> chinese travel presently -- travel presently is like american travel used to be. it is group-oriented. >> right. >> you cram yourself into a 45-passenger motor coach and look at the life from europe from behind the glass window of your motorcoach. you are not encouraged to travel independently. i have always said that the way to sight-see in any country in the world is to get up in the morning and head out on your own two feet at random into the is noter of the city. people stuppingly ask what if
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you get lost if that happens? i respond the nicest things. >> there is a happy medium between the glassed-off entirely contained conveyor belt sort of travel. and traveling entirely on your own if you are not accustomed to it. some of that is getting frommer's guide and some is the trend toward local guides. >> the have net has made it much easier for people to hook up with other -- with locals in the areas they are going. there is also this trend in the great art cities of the world, new york, chicago, london, paris, for graduate students to become guides to supplement their ing meer income in this way and you get the most passionate tours ever because you have these people who are in the city because they are in love with it because they are studying it and a lot of them are now the new tour guides. >> there is this concept of reviews, of user reviews, being able to comment on everything that's written.
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what do you think? >> well, that can be gamed. we have seen it gamed especially in the realm of hotels. it's no secret in the industry that the major hotel chains hire platoons of people to write fake reviews. so you have to take the reviews you read online with a grain of salt. >> how do you know how to handle that from from member's? >> you don't knowmern's? >> you don't know. >> i have written endlessly about the futility of using these reviews. >> you know, even when it is authentic from the case of, say, a hotel, you are taking advice for some -- from someone who has been to exactly one place. they might not know that right up the road, there is a place that's cheaper and nicer and friendliar. >> who are the journalists who write for you? >> we hire magazine editors, reporters, newspaper reporters in the locality to which the guide is written. i write the new york city book.
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my father edits a whole bunch of them, but we have people all over the world. >> when you started this business, there wasn't anything like it. >> no, there wasn't. >> since there then, there are. if you go into the travel section of a bookstore, one of the biggest sessions in many bookstores, there are lots of competing guides. how does one know, pauline, which one to get? who are you catering to and what's the competitive landscape like. >> i think we are catering to the middle american. we want to talk to the largest audience possible. but the guides have different styles and i hope they don't mind me saying this. lonely planet has tried to be incredibly comprehensive. because of that, its reviews are small. we have tried to be more curiated in our approach. we don't think you need to know about 100 restaurants in one city. so we are bringing it down in our new guides. and we wanted to ha it to have personal voice. we usually have one person doing
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an entire designation. if you trust them for musems, you will trust them for fronts. fordor's who we think is slightly more high end, they have a different specialist in each section. it's less of a personal voice. i think. i hope the people from foder's don't mind that. >> that's how i would classify the difference between the major brands. lonely planet is used more like backpackers. we would love to get them back. >> they are very big. >> although all books are on e books now. >> still ahead, i will ask argume arthur about pauline and renting rooms through countries like air b & b. there's more to finical news than the ups and downs of the >> there is more to financial news than the ups and downs of the dow have you thought about how climate change can effect your grocery bill? could rare minerals in china effect your cell phone bill? or, how a hospital in texas
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could drive up your health care premium. i'll make the connections from the news to your money real.
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. you are watching "talk to al jazeera." i am speaking with argumethur a pauline frommern. the ability to earn a living wage, you have written. the ability to earn a living wage, you have written. between the time you arrive, you are going to pass by a lot of people working at that airport who do not earn -- who may be earning minimum wage. >> right. >> in the state in which they are in? >> to my amazement, i discovered this is the situation in laguardia and jfk airports, there are all sorts of people
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who clean the inside of the planes who act as security guards who are earning the minimum wage of $320 a week, which is not a living wage in new york city. and i feel badly that we, as tourists, as travelers, are traveling on their backs so to speak. the minimum wage must be increased in the united states. it eventually will be, and the sooner the better? >> it's not just the people who work in the airports. it's the people who work in the airplanes, a beginning pilot makes what did we learn? >> a regional pilot. >> a regional pilot. >> earning 40 dollars a year, which is much too little. >> yeah. there is going to be a pilot short a.m. in the near future because they can't get enough people to accept that wage for the amount of training and responsibility that it takes to be a pilot. people think are you are more
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sophisticated than you are except when i talk about the fact that i really like cruises. >> you like cruises? >> oh. you are getting me a little upset here there are good cruises and bad cruises. unfortunately, there is a trend in the cruiseship industry to convert cruise ships into vast -- >> large buildings. >> into amusement parks. i so badly dislike that type of cruise. i love to go on a cruise to enjoy the storied cleze pleas user of a cruise and to like down in a chaise lounge and glory in the expansiveness of the ocean. i love to have good conversations with other intellectually curious people. i love to hear lectures. there are some of the big ships today that do not even carry a library in them. so we have become quite out spoken. >> you. >> i am out spoken and disliked by a great many cruiseship officials which i say that i don't look upon why capital it
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doc on the west side of manhattan? it could save a great deal of money. >> it is strange the trend has been away from the more curiated, smaller cruises into these giant massive things several stories? >> not everywhere. not everywhere. the river cruising industry is exploding. >> right? >> that is tiny ships, lectures, all about culture. >> that's true. >> that's true? >> i think that shows there is an appetite for this. >> you are less anti-cruise? >> i am a mom of two. so, you know, my kids love them. and i get to read the novel because they are on the bungee jumping or whatever they are doing. >> yeah. my father and i disagree on. >> let's speak about enter general rangeal traveling, three
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generations traveling together common today. what's the best thing for families to do? >> i have been against inter generational travel. >> we went on a whole inter is he generational trip you insisted on? >> the children were 10 or 11 or 12 years old. the idea of traveling with children who are under the age of 6 is to travel with somebody who does not have the same interests as you have who ruins your own vacation i am when we took you to koppen hagan all you wanted to do was go on a carnival and fun rides but i wanted to go into the museums. >> see, this is where we did he ever. we are running the guide books together now. it's a family-owned business and we differ and i think you see both points of view in the books. but i find traveling with my children opens doors. i was in japan with my little tiny 10 month old and, you know, the japanese can sometimes be a little formal, especially with people who aren't japanese.
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we were welcomed everywhere. people wanted to hold the baby. people wanted to meet us. we were invited into people's homes. without that baby, we would have been outsiders. so, i see an upside to it. >> you do both, i think, share a view about being invited into people's homes, into connecting with locals, asking your friends if they know people in those cities. enough friend with friends in foreign cities it will be the best dinner? >> recently we went to sto stockholm. we pestered our friends to learn the names of people they knew who lived in stockholm. i like that type of travel t i look upon -- >> a reader? >> as being intellectually curious, someone who is interested in getting to the bottom of the culture, the politics, the lifestyles of different countries around the
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world. south they do that or read the book on the plane? >> we suggest in page 1 of our book that they spend a few nights in the library before they leave in case they don't, we have been telling our riders, don't put the history into the history section. put it in the hotel reviews because it should be about the fact that you have traveled a long way from home, and you could have a life changing experience if you understand the context of the place you are in? >> because of that, they are different brooks.
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our london writers says don't go to the changing of the guard. they play abba tunes now. it's not that majestic experience now. >> there are bigger things to do. i am the money guy here i want to talk about the money part. at some point, you went from europe on $5 a day to $10 a day and you had a big jump. >> we went up and up and up until we had to drop it. we realized there were people with broader viewpoints who wanted to spend more money. we now -- we now recommend the expense of as well as the -- the expensive as well as the budget. we have limits there. i don't think we ever have recommended al hotel that charges as much as 7 a$7,800 a night for a double room. we look for value. >> this is much more common. on one hand, the internet allows you to get better deals. on the other hand, hotels control center expensive. it's given birth to a whole slew
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of other options, including staying in people's homes and air b and b. you have written extensively. >> those are a major part of our guide books. there is a major trend that finds millions of americans substituting apartments and homes. >> that's such a unmistakable. they permit you to stay in a residential neighborhoodna in an apartment or in a home. >> this is not without controversy? >> absolutely. >> in new york, there are some people who are up in arms. i go back to my fine lecuriated apartment and there is somebody staying, renting somebody's apartment that i don't know about. >> there are some people who are arguing that it hurts the housing stock, it takes too many apartments away from long-term residents. >> because it makes these inter rental stock? >> i don't know. from my personal experience, everybody i know who does it needs the money.
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we live in an expensive city in new york city. i have friends who leave their apartment for a week, and that way, they pay the rent for a month. >> do you like this development? >> i do like the development. i find that it opens up a great storehouse of accommodations to people who cannot afford normal hotel rates. >> one of the things that i am spending a lot of time on this year is a real study of the middle class and, to some degree, the hollowing out of the middle class in america and why that's dangerous. for that audience, for that family that feels that it's a struggle, we meet so many of them that they work, two parent -- two parents working, and they don't feel that they can afford a family vacation. what do you suggest? >> national parks. the greatest value, the greatest riches of this country are in our national parks. and inmy kids would much rather camp out than go to a hotel. there are also hostels. >> sounds like i am putting somebody down. but hostels have gone eons from
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what they used to be like. >> in terms of standards? >> the standards, in terms of design. some of them are very glamorous. there is one in san francisco in a setting that a million dollars hotel couldn't get. they have family rooms. and you go down for breakfast and your kids are surrounded by teens from all over the world, teens and people in their early prese 20s. they love it. >> what countries are on arthur and paulinets bucket list? >> next on "talk to al jazeera." ideas, your concerns. >> all these folks are making a whole lot of money. >> you are one of the voices of this show. >> i think you've offended everyone with that kathy. >> hold on, there's some room to offend people, i'm here. >> we have a right to know what's in our food and monsanto do not have the right to hide it from us. >> so join the conversation and make it your own. >> watch the stream.
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>> and join the conversation online @ajamstream. real reporting that brings you the world. giving you a real global perspective like no other can. real reporting from around the world. this is what we do. al jazeera america.
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sgrvsh i am ali velshi. my guests are arthur frommer who has published travel guides more than five decades and his daughter, pauline. where have you been that you have not been? >> i never got to tibet before the chiep easy more or less closed up your ability to visit tibet. itch not been to sri lanka or ant arctica because i am worried of being sea sick. i am continuing to travel, continuing to try to discover new places and to recommend the new and the untouristy dest nations in the world today. or those dest nations who's currencies have plummeted against the u.s. dollar. >> which makes them a very good deal? >> that's right. fortunately, we tourists take advantage of others people's
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misfortunes. >> if your economy is such that your kurns cease has been devalued, they are happy they are getting tourists. >> tourism fills up. there are so many countries where this is the case today. i have written a great deal about bali and the indonesia rupia. it has plunged by 30% in the last several months against the u.s. dollar. i talk about the fact here is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a true tropical paradise in bali for very little money. >> argentina has recently spen e experienced this as well. japan's currency is now selling at much more moderate rate than ever before. the indian rupee is 60 to the dollar. >> pauline, i will ask you if you could recommend to our audience one destination to consider that might not have been on the radar, what would
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that be. >> it depends who they are. for families with slightly older children, not toddlers, belize is pretty darn incredible. you do things there that would be illegal here in the united states because they would be too worried about insurance issues. you swim into caves and climb up ladders until you come to rooms which have priceless artifacts in them from when the mayans driver's license human sacrifices there secenturies ag yet they are calcified and there are human bones from the sacrifices. within the u.s., new orleans. everybody knows about new orleans. >> but not everybody knows you can go there and have a great time and while they are still struggling with some things, it remains a remarkable and sup a different tourist destination than so much in america. >> so much that's interesting there has to do with their struggles. you can take tours of where the
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levies broke and the money goes to people struggling with those issues. you can go to one of the best history museums in the united states, the world war ii museum, which is staffed by volunteer docents, many of whom are veterans of world war ii. >> the nation of policiand is visited by a great many americans but they tends to be americans of polish descent to stay with relatives. they do not compete with you for the hotel space of poland. there are very few standard tourists who go to poland. >> yet, crackow is 1 of the cities? >> it is the exception. it should be visited but so should warsaw. so should gadansk. fascinating cities where the costs are a third lower than they would be in western europe and you see works of great art, fabulous architecture, some of which is recreated because the nazis leveled poland but a
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surprising destination. >> and a lot of history in one country. >> yes. >> for many, many decades. >> definitely. >> arthur and pauline frommer of the frommer guides, i am ali velshi, and you have been watching "talk to al jazeera." ♪ maria sharapova >> this is al jazeera america, i'm jonathan betz in new york. this hour we go indepth. first a vote to return to russia, and the strong-armed tactics crimea residents and reporters are seeing from pro-russian forces. plus, three years aboard the suffering, and millions of syria living through it every day, and the violence turning children into orphans.